29 March 2012

Skin Deep

by Laura Jarratt

Hardie Grant Egmont. Young Adult. Paperback RRP $22.95

Reviewer - Barbara Brown

Skin Deep’s byline - Ugly people don’t have feelings – explains the story behind this book. I felt sad and angry at the beginning but then my emotions were taken on a trek up and down hills and valleys until my journey ended in the last pages. This is a book I couldn’t put down.
Jenna is a fourteen year old who was disfigured in the car crash which killed her best friend. She has been transformed from an average pretty girl to a person that children gawk at and adults try not to notice. A person that is stared at for all the wrong reasons.
After several months of staying at home recovering, Jenna returns to school but not life as she knew it. People are mean and treat her like a freak. She retreats further into her own world and it looks like she will never come out.
But then Ryan arrives. A sixteen year old who travels the waterways on a long boat living with his mother. Not usually accepted in the villages and towns, Ryan has dealt with hatred and stares all his life. He hopes this place will be different as he tries to integrate. He is honest and easily gets his first paid job, which he loves. His mother said they may stay longer in this lovely place. Ryan hopes so.
Ryan shows Jenna how to ignore and believe in herself. Jenna shows Ryan how to love. Everything seems perfect. Jenna learns to cope with the stares and Ryan learns to cope with his mother’s mood swings.
But then a body is found and all eyes look towards the travelling boy.
Skin Deep encourages you to guess. I thought I knew the murderer … but I was wrong. A book I would like to see on the big screen.

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